friday happy post

Forbes Helpfully Explains Why ‘Careers’ Are for Olds

once upon a time, when there were jobsDo you have a career? Because if so, you are probably an Old or a Rich, given that they are not just letting people have careers anymore. See, careers are now for the idle wealthy, and the rest of us people can look forward to a life of hustling from one freelance gig to another, scraping together enough cash to live paycheck to paycheck and maybe even avoid crushing poverty if we’re lucky enough to never get sick or injured or require a sustained amount of medical attention. Doesn’t that sound nice? Here, we will talk about our future as temp workers, using this cheery Forbes article called “Careers are Dead. Welcome to Your Low-Wage Temp-Work Future” as a framework to guide our discussion.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, almost 30% of American workers are expected to hold low-wage jobs – defined as earnings at or below the poverty line to support a family of four – in 2020. This number will remain virtually unchanged from 2010. Given that roughly 50% of recent college grads are unemployed or underemployed and those who do work are much more likely to hold these types of jobs, this is a particular grim prospect for young workers hoping to leave these positions behind for greener career pastures.

Thinking you’ll get a temp job and slide on in to a permanent position? One that might even have benefits? And even an IRA? You and everyone else!

With low-wage occupations set to keep growing – even in economic hotspots such as Silicon Valley – most young workers may be destined to either cycle through a number of temporary positions in search of better wages and working conditions or resign themselves to juggling multiple low-wage jobs in order to support themselves if they aren’t able to find an entry point to the career track before they age out of their recent grad status.

Doesn’t that sound pleasant? And how LUCKY for you, that you took out thousands of dollars in student loans to train yourself for an occupation that doesn’t seem to exist. It’s OK though, if we just implement the Ryan Plan, Mitt Romney will fix it by giving us all the jobs we could ever want.


About the author

Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson

View all articles by Kris E. Benson
What Others Are Reading

Hola wonkerados.

To improve site performance, we did a thing. It could be up to three minutes before your comment appears. DON'T KEEP RETRYING, OKAY?

Also, if you are a new commenter, your comment may never appear. This is probably because we hate you.


    1. deanbooth

      No snark. If you have a PhD you can get away with stuff you otherwise couldn't. I did weird-ass vulgar mechanical sculpture for a while, and heard that people would shut up about me being crazy when told I had a PhD (in philosophy of art / ethics). Justified or not, people take it to mean something. Do it, 4TT!

      1. bibliotequetress

        deanbooth, years ago in a well-known library I will keep anonymous (still love the place) I worked for a human who had three MAs, in Celtic Studies, Medieval Studies, and PoliSci, and a PhD in history. He disappeared most afternoons about 3:00 to go get pissfaced at our local Chinese restaurant. So, for about $7/hour I did his work. At the time, I was a drop-out with half a BFA. Variations on this theme have played out in a significant number of libraries and archives where I or my friends have worked. So I both agree and vouch for your experience.

    2. An_Outhouse

      My daughter finally completed hers this year. Now we have to call her 'Doctor'. Its worth it just for that.

    3. unclejeems

      Well, if you're working on your dissertation, it means you're going to be like many of us here–not the kind of doctor who does anybody any good.

    4. Dudleydidwrong

      The danger is that you'll hear that damn'd word: "Overqualified." But I'd rather be overqualified than underqualified. Get 'er done.

      1. deanbooth

        Right after a friend of mine finished his philosophy PhD, a headhunter told him that it'd be better to tell prospective employers that he had been in prison for six years.

    5. Bumptious

      I finished my dissertation last year and got incredibly lucky: I now have a tenure track position in a not so great university. Going on the job market out of grad school seems like entering into a lottery–your success depends more on luck than on exceptional merit–but I know a lot of people who have gotten lucky in that lottery, and I am pleased to be one of them. In other words, "finish the dang dissertation!"

  1. EatsBabyDingos

    I keep hearing "there's snow jobs." Are they like hand jobs, but with the icy grip of Death on the side? Ohhh. "There's no jobs."

    Enjoy your Hobo beans; now with more fresh Hobo!

    1. Mahousu

      Don't worry; the estate tax will be permanently repealed, so all their money will go to their children or mistresses or whatever. So it'll be creating just as many jobs as before (none).

    2. Peckerwood_Pete

      Well, considering there aren't any…. I guess the demand for gravediggers won't be going up when they supposedly die…

    3. LibertyLover

      Not much, By then the estate tax will have been passed and you'll be working for Mitt's Grandson.

      1. SorosBot

        My parents both have some strange mysterious thing called a pension; now that one is really foreign from the experience of anyone under about 55.

    1. MissTaken

      It's when your boss fucks you over whenever he feels like it with none of the messy hassles that go along with a real worker-manager relationship, like healthcare or retirement.

  2. Weenus299

    If you fire everybody, and rehire everybody as temps, then you've doubled the job count and incinerated those pesky "benefit packages." Score!

  3. IonaTrailer

    Need to lower the poverty level to say, $7,500 a year for a family of four, and then, problem solved! You just gotta think like a Bain executive.

    1. Callyson

      Yeah, but who can afford to be a client?

      Not that I'm considering it…I mean, what do you take me for…um, what I meant was…

    1. MissTaken

      Me too. I'm sitting here waiting for an appropriate time to leave the office and get an early start on my holiday weekend. Paid holiday at that.

      1. Jus_Wonderin

        I am just about to fire off that "going to farm" email. They have gotten in the habit of asking me on Fridays…."are you going to the farm?"


        It may help you to remember Dorothy Parker:
        I like a Martini,
        two at the very most,
        with three I under the table,
        with four I under my host.

        1. Isyaignert

          Love me some Dorothy Parker!

          I like this line about martinis – Two are too many and three are not enough.

  4. kittensdontlie

    What Mittens 'Means Jobs' Romney giveth, the Donald 'Means Firing' Trump will taketh away.

    1. IonaTrailer

      The RNC should have gone with the Donald and the Obama impersonator. However, I'm glad they gave us something that will live on and on – as an SNL skit, on the Daily Show, the pages of the Wonkette.

      Thanks, RNC!

  5. Antispandex

    Conservatives. In a race for the bottom! Maybe when we are broke enough, India will send US some jobs! Yea!

    1. schvitzatura

      They are leasing here, but still bringing in H1Bs/H1B1s over here. The authorities are thinking this is some sort of proof that the area is thriving. Local 'Murican mid-career engineer can't compete with labor trucked in from Chennai/Bangalore/Mysore/yaddayadda/yadda:

      In welcoming iGate to Loudoun, Supervisor Matt Letourneau, chairman of the Board's Economic Development Committee, said, “Their decision to establish their East Coast headquarters here is a testament to the excellent work and cooperation between the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development, Governor McDonnell, and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. We will continue to work together to bring jobs and commercial revenue to Loudoun, and are actively working on several other potential prospects.

      Out on iGates website? No posting for 'Muricans, only H1B/H1B1s:

      So the only white sahib to benefit from this will be the leasing company. Until Indian management tire of living in America and want to pack up the enterprise, lock, stock, and barrel.

  6. prommie

    Certainly doesn't put the worker in a great bargaining position when it comes to asking for a raise.

    1. LibertyLover

      When they talk about being free in America, how come workers aren't "free" to form a union?

  7. Jus_Wonderin

    "This is not your fathers Olds career"

    "This year, every career will have holes in it's sides"

    "Solid as Iraq"?

  8. ChernobylSoup

    I think the late 1990s scared the hell out of the Galt class. It was a time when anyone who knew how to spell IP or T1 could actually negotiate wages and benefits. And negotiate as individuals, not collectively. I sometimes think (or I would if I was a conspiracy theorist) the "job creators" vowed to never again let themselves be put in such a position and deliberately stagnated the economy and designed it so it would be very top heavy again.

    1. Lot_49

      This is so true. Engineering companies, which had never provided anything for their employees beyond old furniture and pencils, we're now being told by young whippersnappers that they had to buy $5000 IBM PCs for every goddam employee. And not only that, you couldn't just make endless copies of Lotus 1-2-3 for every machine in the office.

    2. Pithaughn

      Oh, I don't know. I am the worst employee I know. Never get my paperwork done correctly or on time, shave infrequently, make sneering condescending remarks at meetings… and yet, I am the Golden Boy, the Magical Mystery worker. Why?
      I can make digital devices behave and talk nice with each other. Quite the talent, now if I just had the guts to move to N Dakota.

      1. Isyaignert

        Everybody – read "A Tale of Two Cities" this weekend so we can get in the mood to kick these greedy mofos' @sses and teach them some manners.

    1. Lot_49

      Tarring and feathering has undeservedly fallen out of fashion. What you do is rent one of those roofer's propane-fired tar kettles, hook it up to your trailer hitch, and meet your helpers (who'll all have brought feather pillows) at the victim's home or workplace. You drag him outside, dip him in the molten roofing tar, rip open the pillows and shake the feathers all over him.

      Come to think of it, this is really weird. But we won't know for sure until we try it out on Todd Akin.

        1. SigDeFlyinMonky

          I don't think it would be cruel. And after we've don it a few times it won't be unusual.

      1. Isyaignert

        Ahhh, the good old days!! Stockades in the town square with nearby bushel baskets of rotting tomatoes and eggs for throwing are nice too. Good times!!

  9. el_donaldo

    I have a career!

    And you can have it, but you will also have to take the massive load of debt acquired in the process.

  10. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    most young workers may be destined to either cycle through a number of temporary positions in search of better wages

    I keep telling the interns that…, and I keep getting sexual harassment suits filed against me.

    1. emmelemm

      Well, sexual harassment lawsuits are a more likely way to get rich than actually getting a job.


    Low wages? Wait until Romney eliminates the minimum wage law. "Welcome to Bain China, now learn English or get out of here".

    1. el_donaldo

      Hey, I teach that! Grovelling, pointless cover letters for the resume is 25% of the final grade.

    1. Peckerwood_Pete

      If I were rich, I'd be balling some 25 year old blonde, getting drunk as horse piss everyday, wrecking sports cars, and watching Scarface on repeat. But I'm here on Wonkette instead… no offense guys….

  12. LibertyLover

    Glad I'm an Old, But I'm not an old enough of an Old because I'll be getting one of those Golden Ticket Vouchers and will probably have to compete with my kids for a temp job just so I can pay my medical bills. Oh the Places I Will Go.

    1. Lot_49

      But you'll still happily pay your Medicare tax so us genuine Olds can keep getting our sweet, sweet, single-payer, government-negotiated-rate health care, won't you? Because Krugman is making me doubt this, with his whiny little column today.

        1. Lot_49

          Actually he's a Nobel-Prize-winning practitioner of the Dismal Science. And he's right to point out the inter-generational friction this will cause. The same way big business busts unions by negotiating “tiered” benefits and wages, the Republicans want to destroy support for Medicare and Soshecurity by pitting the Youngs against the Olds.

  13. SayItWithWookies

    Why are all these lazy underemployed college grads not lifting themselves up by their own bootstraps and creating good jobs out of thin air? Maybe some sort of tax cut for the rich is in order.

    1. Lot_49

      In the early days, all Mittens and Ann had to sustain them in their basement apartment was some stocks they could sell off. Why can't Today's Youth do the same?

    2. Negropolis

      How can you pull yourself up by your own bootstraps when you don't even have money to buy the boots?

    1. BeefHardcake

      I prefer the term 'highwayman', thankyouverymuch. it makes me feel more like Robin Hood and shit.

  14. Baconzgood

    …and when there was no meat, we ate frog and when there was no frog, we ate crawdad…and when there was no crawdad to be found, we ate sand.

    1. Pithaughn

      I am writing a Phyto Plankton cook book as we speak!
      My first recipe is Pithaughn's Plankton Pancakes.

  15. Peckerwood_Pete

    Ah, but remember, according to the GOP crowd, its our fault we're poor….

    I ain't rich…. but I'm sure as shit not gettin' any younger….

  16. Mumbletypeg

    Temps waiting to segué to permanent and good luck with that. The receptionist position where I work, formerly occupied for five years by a full-time-with-benefits lucky duck, now has been reduced to part-time and had to fire the first replacement therein when they learned, kinda too late, she had zero computer experience and phones intimidated her.
    The latest person to take the job could be the former's granddaughter. She's agreed to eventually be reduced from 40- to 30-hour workweeks as of the new year (rather than accelerating or having the honor of receiving benefits & other full-time perks). Apparently her fiancé will provide her bennies via his job.
    She is a young one yet is doing this un-Job following time enough spent as a bank teller — at one point reaching some rank of supervisor, in fact found her way here via some of our other young entry-level's, who apparently co- recruited* her, their former boss, here to take this lowly job — it was better than nothing, the 'nothing else' that's out there.

    *i.e. wrote her referrals. A lot is Who You Know as means of landing what few openings are available, no? But to go from bank staff supervisor to this represents an all-time low, to me.

  17. Antispandex

    There was a time, OK, not in America, but still, when people would have just dragged the wealthy to a noose for this kind of arrogance. I believe it was those "pussy French" who were best at it.

  18. Schmegeg

    Hey Wonkettes I am being ASSAULTED by audio ads from America's for Prosperity when I enter this site. Help, I am now undecided and may switch to Mittens.

  19. alzronnie

    Include college with careers as being just for olds and no longer attainable (for the little people).

  20. Mittens Howell, III

    Jumbo sized hot dogs 18 cents? Oh Lordy, the 1950's WERE the Golden years!

    Take me there, Mitt! Take me there!!

    1. BornInATrailer

      And only 23 cents for a chili dog! Do you know what I have to pay for a chili dog these days, even with a lady as plain as that waitress?

      Wait, we might not be talking about the same thing..

  21. DahBoner

    I was explaining to a woman a couple years ago that the American dream of getting a job that will last until retirement, house, spouse, baby…is dead.

    And Flexibility is the new Stability.

    You wouldn't believe the condescention in her voice, "Well, some people still want that"…

    1. Jennyjen798

      Did you tell her "You can WANT it all you want, doesn't mean you're going to get it. " I would have probably thrown in some insults too just for good measure, like: "besides you're not pretty enough to marry a 1%, so keep dreaming about that life you'll never have honey."


  22. BlueStateLibel

    This sounds like a brilliant plan for a stable, solid society, it'll works out perfectly, just ask the Czar, Marie Antionette, etc.

  23. OneYieldRegular

    In this bold new unemployed world, what is this promise of low-wage temp work? Or do only graduates of Chick-Fil-A University qualify?

    1. TribecaMike

      Graduating from Chick-Fil-A University would definitely help land a job at the Washington Post, or the Washington Times (what's the difference anymore?).


    Low wages because corporate America doesn't compensate workers for the recent increases in productivity. Labor productivity increased 80% since 1980, while average wages only 7%. I am sure Marx is rolling in his grave by now.

    But is more than low wages. They screw workers because there are no unions. I have a contract signed with a corporation where I gave up my right to sue the company. They can sue me, but I cannot sue them. You want to get a job? So, give up your civil rights.

  25. TribecaMike

    College is for Muggles. I don't recall Rowling mentioning anything about Harry, Hermoine or Ron metriculating to university after Hogwarts.

  26. BornInATrailer

    Shorter Forbes:

    <loop>Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard.</loop>

    1. schvitzatura

      I'll be out back, practicing my layup for the Centrifugal Bumblepuppy tourney this weekend.

      Mitt Romney, Resident Controller for Oceania really wants the jerb or making jerbs, really badly.

  27. iamrrm

    My daughter went to lots of college and has a career! I'm gonna threaten to turn the car around if she doesn't support me.

  28. Chow Yun Flat

    Thank goodness the GOP will be getting rid of the remnants of those horrible unions with their demands for increased wages and benefits. Union thugs make is much harder for the job creators to minimum wage jobs in a benefit free environment.

  29. TootsStansbury

    This shit just breaks my heart. How did this happen? How did this county get to be such a mean and ugly place? This isn't sustainable; the direction we're heading is one of complete corporate control of everything. I feel like all the truth and beauty is being sucked out of the world.

    How do we fix this?

    I am a manager. Of people; they only become "recourses" when I have to talk to the assholes in the suits. I am familiar with the temporary worker thing; string them along until we can make them permanent. No benefits, no vacation or sick or holiday pay, nada. It costs us more to pay the supplier than it would to make them permanent! But it looks better on paper I guess and no messy unemployment entanglements should we have to let them go.

    When I started at my company we had a pension but we went to a 401k a year after I started. Oh well I still have social security thought I. Now, probably not. I joke about beads and shells but I'll still collect shells when I get the chance. Forget medical care.

    How do we stop this slide into some awful hell of an ugly step child of Plutocracy, Fascism, Theocracy and ultimately Authoritarianism (which will be required to keep the people down).

    How did it happen? How do we stop it?

    1. unclejeems

      Yes, and what grates me is that it's my generation of long-hairs and various mellow, pot smokin' hippies that let it happen. And we used the think our parents were dumb.

      1. TootsStansbury

        Yeah well I am the hippies' younger sister. Fuck them "I Me Me Mine".

        When is the revolution?

        And I am just venting my spleen in a dead thread.

        1. Jennyjen798

          Ha! We had a working with generation's training. I had to sit and watch the baby boomers describe Gen X as selfish and lazy. As a Gen x-er, I pretty much told them to go fuck themselves, they're the "Original ME Generation ". They've destroyed our entire country and want to sit back and blame the later generations who've been forced become more ruthless so as to not get screwed over by our parents. BY OUR FUCKING PARENTS! FUCK YOU I CAN'T WAIT TO PUT YOUR ASSES IN THE DECREPIT OLDS HOME THAT YOU GUYS HAVE CUT FUNDING FOR AND RUINED.

          So, they got their panties in a wad. That's ok, the instructor said my observations were spot on. She was a baby boomer herself but basically said, yup we've done this, we're the selfish fucks who raised an entire generation of jaded selfish fuckers.

          The only hope seems to be with the millenials, they're the largest and most socially aware group since the Greatest Generation. Not sure how I feel about that, let's hope they don't get sucked into the Romney/Ryan way of thinking. :(

  30. Dashboard Buddha

    There's another delightful aspect to being a temp…you're the red-headed stepchild of the workplace.

    Oh…and here's something funny. In the last month two groups started at my employer. I was in one. Of the 12 people starting 4 are permanent and 8 are temps (including me).

    All of the permanents are under 30…all of the temps are late 40s and above.

    Hmmmm, you don't think there's an age thing going on here, do you?

  31. Naked_Bunny

    We've been lowering taxes on the rich for 30 years. When is this trickle-down prosperity supposed to kick in?

  32. ttommyunger

    Not that I want to work for Forbes, or anyone else for that matter, but do you have to be a closeted ghey?

  33. GorzoTheMighty

    "Because the finance man's gonna be at your house on Saturday, right? That's exactly what the company wants – to keep you on their line. They'll do anything to keep you on their line. They pit the lifers against the new boys, the old against the young, the black against the white – EVERYBODY to keep us in our place." A quote from the movie" Blue Collar" made in 1978. I wish i could snark but it is just to sad..

  34. mosjef

    It's the post-modern definition of career. You could be a boil on Mitt Rombo's ass. Must have prior experience as unpleasant lesion.

  35. Negropolis

    Isn't that adorable? Forbes thinks that the America of the future is just going to take this. lol Occupy will end up looking like a picnic.

    1. Sacanagem

      But in that bright shiny future Forbes will simply be downloaded into the brains of our corporate betters.

  36. vodkamuppet

    Went to share this but then I got confused by the options. What is a slash/dot? Can I have sex with it?

  37. Isyaignert

    If the 'cons had their way, there'd be NO minimum wage and they'd pay you in moldy gruel for an 18-hour workday with no bathroom breaks.

  38. bibliotequetress

    I am afraid this article is correct. Contributing to this problem is that by drastically reducing the civil service work force, private employers no longer have to compete with government employment in benefits, hours, retirement, etc. Now, the idea that gov wages & vacation are superfab has been so absurdly exaggerated or lied about by the likes of Buckley & Limbaugh that no one actually believes it when they discover many public employees actually make less than the private industry equivalent in monetary pay, yet it's true. Nevertheless, we take our pay in the form of good retirement plans, decent health coverage, etc. I really hate calling them benefits because it is actually services in lieu of wages, not some gifty thingy extra benefit. Still. Not only are many agencies becoming so understaffed as to be unable to fulfill their missions– which feeds the monster lie, "See how incompetent the government is!"– but we hit a tipping point where some fields no longer have to think about competing with government employment standards.

    Anecdotally, one of my dear friends is an archeologist. She is about to switch fields due to lack of work and will delay having kids even longer. Archeology was never high-paying, but in the US, the Dept of the Interior once was the largest employer of archeologists, and the pressure was on to at least come close to matching their compensation. No mas. She cannot pay her student loans while working in the field she acquired those loans to study. She cannot get childcare or make enough money to pay for childcare while working in a field that requires a masters. So we can look forward to the day when archeologists are, once again, self funded upperclass eccentrics with a fondness for pith helmets and no need for a salary because they have the family trust, what what.

Comments are closed.